The holidays are coming whether we are ready for them or not. That means soon the city will be filled with twinkly lights and more traffic than ever. It probably also means that your family is calling about their holiday plans and if you’ve been dating someone for a while, they may be asking about that special someone. This can leave us brimming with excitement or overwhelmed with fear, often a not so wonderful mixture of both.
If you’ve found yourself faced with the complicated dilemma of bringing your partner home for the holidays our guide is here to help you! It will walk you through the process from deciding if the time is right to prepare for the actual encounter. We promise it doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds.
Making the Decision
First of all, should you even be bringing your partner around for the holidays? There are several things to consider such as their own holiday plans and whether you’re both ready. If your partner usually goes to their aunts for Thanksgiving, it might not be the best time to rope them into meeting the folks.
Now there are no hard and fast rules about how long you should be dating before taking your partner home for the holidays, but you probably don’t need to invite your summer fling. The real gauge is the seriousness of the relationship, the level of commitment you’ve at and have discussed wanting in the future. If you’ve both expressed a desire to keep things casual, then you don’t need to bring your partner.
If, on the other hand, you’ve both talked about each others families a lot, maybe even mentioned wanting to meet them, it might be a good time. If you’ve talked about your future, or things have been getting more serious, it may be a sign that it’s the right time to bring your partner home. The best thing to do is talk to your partner about to see where they’re at.
Talking to Your Partner
First of all, don’t put any pressure on one decision or the other. Let them gauge where they’re at in your relationship and consider whatever holiday plans they’d been concocting before your invitation. If they don’t seem immediately excited it doesn’t mean they don’t want to go either. This can be a huge step in a relationship. If you’re considering enmeshing your life with another person, their family is going to be a big part of it eventually. Finding out how you all fit together, whether or not you all enjoy each other, can be a big deal.
Even if your partner has already met your family spending the holidays together means discovering each other’s traditions and how both of you are going to incorporate the other into those traditions. You may find that your families do things very differently, it can even feel like your partner is celebrating all wrong. That’s why it’s important to have these conversations, and if your partner is joining you for the holidays to try to find a way to incorporate some of their traditions.
Talk to Your Family
Now that you’ve decided you’re going to allow your partner to meet the wonderfully weird people you’re related to it’s time to ask your family. You may have extremely casual family holidays, or they be formal affairs, either way, they take a lot of planning. So it’s important to tell your family ahead of time and even make sure it’s something they’re ready for. The last thing you want is awkward tension around the dinner table.
Prepare Your Partner
This doesn’t mean that you’re taking your partner into a battle for their life. It’s just that every family has their own micro-culture. They have their own dos and don’ts that your partner isn’t going to know without a heads up. So if you say grace at dinner tell your partner. If your relatives don’t practice Judaism but still don’t eat dairy with meat, let your partner in on that tidbit.
It’s not just about dinner either; your parents may prefer to go by Mr. and Mrs. despite you being thirty. Or they may be extremely eccentric in a way that you’re so acclimated to you’ve stopped noticing. Whatever insider information you have that can make the trip easier will leave your partner feeling more comfortable as they spend the holidays with your family.
The reality is, no matter how much you prepare your partner there’s no way to know what’s going to happen or how they’re going to feel about things as they unfold. That’s why it’s important to check in with your partner throughout the family holiday to make sure they like the food, feel comfortable chatting with everyone and are generally having a good time.
Your partner may need to take you aside to complain, or they may not need you at all. Either way, they’ll appreciate knowing that when they need something, you’ll be there.